Nigerians living in the United States who were recently charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a $46 million fraud have been told to give themselves up to the law enforcement agency or face extradition according to international treaty between both countries.
The FBI had on Thursday, announced a massive bust of online fraudsters who are mostly Nigerians. According to the FBI, a total of 80 suspects have been apprehended for cyber crime and money laundering, with 57 more being hunted globally in investigations which began since 2016. It said the suspects were involved in schemes resulting in the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently obtained funds and the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million. Chairman/CEO of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, gave the advice yesterday, while condemning the action of the indicted Nigerians. She said the indicted Nigerians should be given the opportunity to defend themselves as every suspect remains innocent until proven guilty. Dabiri- Erewa said while the alleged involvement of these Nigerians ultimately have negative effect on the image of the country, the actions of a few Nigerians involved in criminal activities must not be the measure of what the majority of Nigerians represent.
The statement read as follows: “The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission is deeply concerned about the news of the court indictment of 80 persons, mainly Nigerians, in various parts of the US, being accused in separate FBI cases of massive email fraud and money laundering. “Prior to the court indictment of these eighty persons, of which Valentine Iro and Chukwudi Christogunis Igbokwe, are lead suspects, Obinwanne Okeke had earlier been arrested in Virginia.
“We acknowledge the fact that accusation does not mean guilt, and we hope that all the accused will be given fair and speedy trial. “We also ask those accused in Nigeria to voluntarily turn themselves in, to American authorities to clear their names, without which the Nigerian government should extradite them if relevant international treaties between the two governments are invoked. “While such actions ultimately have negative effect on the image of the country, the Commission however reiterates as it has always done, that the actions of a few Nigerians involved in criminal activities is not and can never be what the majority of Nigerians represent.